By Serena Gordon
THURSDAY, Nov. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) — People with type 1 diabetes who use marijuana may double their risk of developing a life-threatening complication, a new study suggests.
Called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), the condition occurs when there is not enough insulin to break down sugar in the body, so the body burns fat for fuel instead. This triggers a build-up of chemicals known as ketones, which make blood more acidic and can lead to coma or death.
“About 30 percent of our patients are using some form of marijuana, and they should be careful when using,” said study author Dr. Halis Akturk. “They should be aware of the DKA risk, and recognize the symptoms — nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and confusion.”
Akturk is an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes in Aurora, Colo.
Colorado is one of nine U.S. states that legally allow recreational use of marijuana.